Every once in a while, concerted action elicits results.
The protest against Facebook by MoveOn.org has resulted in a change to its invasive new advertising program. I first wrote about this unbelievably intrusive ad campaign in Suckface, where Facebook began using the personal information of its users for advertising purposes, without sufficient consent or disclosure. Fortunately, Moveon took the privacy invasion on as a campaign, The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, and garnered over 50,000 signatures in 10 days in protest of the privacy of Facebook members.
As in Facebook Bows to Privacy Protest:
See also, Facebook Retreats on Online Tracking. As the Times piece states:
Critics objected to what they viewed as a breach in privacy because users would have to formally decline to have the information displayed after making purchases at each participating web site. Most Facebook applications involve a pro-active “opt-in,” with users choosing to participate. MoveOn and the more than 51,500 members of its protest group wanted Facebook to make the Beacon feature “opt-in,” too, meaning that if a user took no action, their information would not be displayed.And that’s what Facebook will do, the site announced this evening.
The system Facebook introduced this month, called Beacon, is viewed as an important test of online tracking, a popular advertising tactic that usually takes place behind the scenes, where consumers do not notice it. Companies like Google, AOL and Microsoft routinely track where people are going online and send them ads based on the sites they have visited and the searches they have conducted.
But Facebook is taking a far more transparent and personal approach, sending news alerts to users’ friends about the goods and services they buy and view online.
Although Facebook has acceded to the "opt in" approach before a member's purchasing information is disseminated to the users "friends," it has not completely abandoned it's campaign. It has declined to adopt a universal opt out. Executives at Facebook believe that over time, members will get used to and accept the ad feature. Which, of course, is probably true. Over time, one can come to accept almost anything when constantly bombarded -- it's called brainwashing. It's apparently also company policy at Facebook.